High Performance Materials

Fermentation Production Technology

Using fermentation production technology cultivated over years of biotechnology research, we developed a commercial process for production of vitamin B12 and later developed a process for producing astaxanthin, a red pigment used to improve the flesh color of farm-raised fish. The astaxanthin we produce has been approved in Europe and the USA for use as a natural pigment for salmon and trout, and is currently being marketed under the name Panaferd-AX.

Production Technology

Photo 1 - Electron micrograph of astaxanthin-producing microorganism
Photo 2 - Small fermenters

Following our discovery of Paracoccus carotinifaciens (Photo 1), a marine microorganism with the ability to produce astaxanthin, we have been working to improve productivity.
We perform no genetic modification, but rather employ conventional mutation screening technology to select strains with higher productivity. And by using small fermenters (Photo 2) that allow us to optimize the culturing conditions such as the medium composition, temperature, pH, and aeration and agitation, we have increased productivity by over 100 times compared to what was possible when the strain was first discovered.